Mission To Lars (2012)

February 28th, 2013
Author: Meredith Taylor

Director:  James Moore, William Spicer

Producer: James Moore, William Spicer

Cast: Kate Spicer, Tom Spicer, William Spicer 

74min                                  UK Documentary

It is unlikely you will see such an unlikely, sweet, life-affirming film this year. Journalist Kate Spicer has two brothers. William, a filmmaker and Tom, who suffers from an inherited learning disability called Fragile X Syndrome, a rather virulent form of autism.

Understandably, Tom lives in a home, where life is familiar and ordered, but it can still seem impossible for Tom; stress, a lapse in structure, anything out of the ordinary, crowds, queues and particularly loud noises to name but a few, cause total shutdown and retreat. But both Kate and William are aware that by leading their busy, ‘normal’ lives, they have over the years grown more distant from their brother and both wish to do something to address this rift 

For someone with a fear of loud noises, Tom has a surprising fixation; the music that is Metallica, the loudest heavy metal band in the world. Moreover, his one main ambition in life has been to meet the drummer, Lars Ulrich. So, Kate and Will hatch a plot that entails taking Tom out of his comfortable home, flying him across the Atlantic and into a concert arena to see his idol. The biggest problem may be in actually getting him out of his bedroom. When Tom says no, he means No.

However, it’s not only Tom’s on-going battle with his own fears and fixations, but the dynamic between the siblings as they come together to try and make this trip of a lifetime happen that is as engaging as the idea of trying to get back stage passes for the biggest rock band in the world. For some, just being among brothers and sisters can be a trial, but doing that knowing that it is potentially exponentially more stressful for one of their number makes the endeavour all the more piquant, as they strive for familiarity and closeness.

It’s quite possible that if Tom’s brother Will hadn’t been a filmmaker, this film would not have had half the content that it does. It is precisely because the cameraman is an integral part of the unit that he is able to get the footage that this film needs to make it work so comprehensively as a film.

Even as the pair go into this Mission To Lars knowing it’s going to be a headache, it does nothing to prevent it being a migraine, as they try to cope with their own patterns of behaviour as much as try to cater for the entirely unpredictable Tom.

Hats off to everyone for even attempting it. What an amazing journey for all concerned. It’s only in the Doing that we learn what we might be capable of and solutions can sometimes come from the most surprising of places. I’m so glad I’ve seen this film. Be sure to stay for all of the end credits. AT

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